#1: Part One: Building your business as an independent consultant

Business start-up. New Business. Working independently. If any of these phrases refer to you then please read on. If you have aspirations to build a successful consulting practice, it helps to have some form of framework to ensure that you have a balanced model which will enable you to achieve sustainable profitable growth. You can find detailed advice in From Crew to Captain, but the basics are laid out here.

In this article I will highlight an overall framework to give some context to your planning. In future articles I will go into more detail on each of the constituent parts of the framework.

At the highest level a sensible and pragmatic framework would probably have 3 components:

  • The Consultant Role
  • Selling Consultancy Services
  • Delivering Consultancy Services

The Consultant Role

In terms of the Consultant role, you would firstly reflect on the key challenges which you would face as a Consultant; you would then move on to consider the different consultancy models which you could follow (eg subject matter expert, sector expert, change agent…), and decide which is the best one for you; and finally you would look at the key success factors which would determine whether you were going to prosper or merely survive. Do you know what you’re doing? Do you know how to do it? And how do you know if it’s working?

Selling Consultancy Services

Selling Consultancy Services is quite often the area which gives most cause for concern, as people are comfortable with their ability to deliver, but less confident that they can win the business in the first place! You would start with analysing routes to market – how many do you have? You would then define a sales qualification process, designed to convert strangers into cash in the bank, whilst weeding out potential timewasters and bad debts. Finally you would consider how to tender professionally for work.

Delivering Consultancy Services

Delivering Consultancy Services is critical, as this is where your reputation will be won or lost. Retaining clients is No1 priority. If you create happy clients not only are they likely to use you again, they will refer others. Personal Branding is also important – is the image you present to the marketplace consistent and coherent, irrespective of where and how you interact with your clients? Lastly, an appreciation of strategies for success and strategies to avoid is also helpful!

So, now we have an overall framework, we can build on. Find out how these various components can be developed by following these articles, thereby enabling a flourishing practice to be built or contact me for quicker results.

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